Guest Post: G.L. Helm



The question is whether the setting for a romance novel is important.  I think the answer is bigger than the question.  Setting is important for any story no matter what genre. One can have a ‘romantic’ setting no matter whether it is Tombstone, Arizona or Venice, Italy. In the case of my novel Sometimes in Dreams one of the locations is Venice.  In my other novels the locations have generally come from my imagination, or have been taken from real places but drastically modified to serve my purpose. Sometimes in Dreams is the first time I have taken real locations and plunked them down whole in my story.


I was smitten with Venice from the first moment I set foot there. They, the Venetians, call the city La Serranisima which means the serene one, but like a beautiful and serene woman there is much more to her than meets the eye. There are few places like it in the world. It is romantic in every sense of the word.  Lovers stroll hand in hand everywhere in Venice and the city is filled with great art by the most romantical artists who ever lived.  The city simply exudes romance from every stone. It rises up from the canals like the morning fog and one cannot help but be taken in by it. 


Of course, being a romantic of the worst sort I find romance—not always the kissy, bodice ripping kind, but the romance of history—everywhere. It is made up of war and peace and battling for peace both on the world stage and on the inner stage of the soul. Location is very important in any novel, but more import is how the people in the story react to the location. 


By the same token another of my settings in Sometimes in Dreams is Edwards Air Force Base which is in the great Mojave Desert of southern California. It is not a wonderfully romantic place as such, but it served very well to sketch out Daniel and Amanda’s life after the lush romance and tragedy they lived through in Venice.  The desert has a different kind of romance. I have always thought that the desert is very much like a beautiful but untamed woman.  She is lovely in her colors and warmly soft in her nights, but if you aren’t careful, if you turn your back on her and don’t pay attention to her, she will kill you without a second thought.  Venice, on the other hand is the epitome of the cultured woman. She is beautiful in her dress and her conversation and mysterious in her existence, but she can be very cold and cruel at a whim. She can throw the careless soul into turmoil and then laugh as that reckless soul drowns in the swirl.


Locations can also be like characters in a story. Woody Allen often makes cities like New York, Paris, and Los Angeles such important parts of his stories that the whole movie would be completely different if it were set somewhere else. That is true of Sometimes in Dreams also. I might have told the same story and set it in Miami or Indianapolis. It still might have been a great story, but it would have lost something without Venice.


Sometimes In Dreams

Daniel Pentland is a broken man; torn between the two women in his life. He is tormented by guilt over his love affair with a beautiful English girl he met while living in Italy, and the loyal devotion of his wife, Amanda.

Two years after the tragic death of his lover Kit, he is continually haunted by her memory. Across the sands of the Mojave Desert, her voice calls out to him, pulling at his heart and his memories.

Each night as Daniel wakes screaming and fighting against the phantom of Kit’s killer, his wife does her best to soothe his pain and help him overcome his grief.

Sometimes in Dreams is a story of redemption through a love that simply refuses to die.


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Author Bio:

G. Lloyd Helm is a ‘ne’er-do-well scribbler’—novelist, short story writer and poet—who has tramped around the world for the last forty years thanks to his long suffering military wife. He has lived in Germany, Spain, and Italy. His epitaph will read, “He married well.”


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